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Oct 20, 2014
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Sneak Peek

Sneak Peek: Old Standard

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014

Ben Poremba's newest restaurant, Old Standard, specializes in his favorite food: fried chicken. Located at 1621 Tower Grove Ave., Old Standard opens to the public Oct. 20.


We’ve been craving fried chicken since restaurateur Ben Poremba announced nearly a year ago that he was opening a chicken shack. The restaurant, Old Standard, is located at 1621 Tower Grove Ave., in Botanical Heights, which is anchored by his other eateries, Elaia, Olio and Chouquette. After much renovation to the historic space (It was once a police horse stable.), and a fried chicken research tour that took him to more than 500 eateries around the country, Poremba will open Old Standard’s doors to the public Oct. 20.

Poremba sources chicken from Miller Poultry in Indiana, which raises hormone- and antibiotic-free poultry on an all-vegetable diet. After brining the bird, it is battered and cooked in a pressure fryer. Diners can get their fried chicken half, whole or a la carte – thigh, half-breast or leg. While fried chicken is a main event at Old Standard, guests can get a taste of the South in snacks and sides, many of which feature crispy vegetables and briny pickles to counter the fattiness of fried chicken. A selection of breads and desserts round out the food offerings.

The bar puts a spotlight on American whiskey and soda. Old Standard carries 50 whiskeys, nearly half of which are bourbons. Whiskey-based cocktails are also available. Beer lovers can choose from 10 canned beers (buckets of beer are served in sturdy Coleman lunch boxes) or opt for Old Standard’s proprietary beer on draft, a Pilsner brewed by Urban Chestnut. Teetotalers (and kids) won’t be disappointed in the drink options. Old Standard stocks two dozen bottled sodas and six house-made ones in flavors like rose water-toasted almond and stone fruit-spice. A trio of house-made lemonades and iced teas featuring blends by the London Tea Room, keep the drink vibe on the Southern map.

Old Standard will be open daily. Initial hours will be Monday through Saturday from 4:30 p.m. to midnight and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., with lunch added in six to eight weeks. Here’s what to expect when Old Standard opens doors next Monday:



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-photos by Meera Nagarajan

Sneak Peek: Rooster on South Grand

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

Nearly a year ago, restaurateur Dave Bailey announced his plans to open a second location for his breakfast, lunch and brunch cafe, Rooster, at 3150 S. Grand Blvd., in South City. After an extensive rehab to the former Hamiltonian Bank & Trust building, the historic, glass box-style building is now ready for diners.

At its newest location, Rooster will offer the same morning and lunch fare that has garnered it national praise. However, the daily eatery will also operate during evening hours. The dinner menu, which Bailey described as “country French with a South City influence,” is divided into starters and entrees. The former includes items such as risotto cakes, mac-n-cheese, steak tartare, a house charcuterie plate, cured salmon and a couple salads. Among the dozen main dishes, guests will find protein-laden options to satisfy carnivores, pescatarians and vegetarians alike, including fried chicken, Missouri trout, beef brisket with braised cabbage and spaetzel, and a root vegetable hash.

The expansive 200-seat interior features sweeping floor-to-ceiling glass windows, with two 40-foot community tables extending the length of the main dining room. A patio is dotted with picnic tables than can accommodate another 150 guests.

A 3,000-square-foot lower level now serves as a bakery and commissary kitchen for Bailey’s entire family of restaurants (Baileys’ Range, Baileys’ Chocolate Bar, Bridge and Small Batch). The commissary kitchen was previously located downtown. The kitchen will also serve Bailey’s upcoming barbecue restaurant and rooftop bar at 1011 Olive St., downtown. Those venues are on target to open this spring, Bailey said, but names have not been finalized yet.

Rooster opens doors to the public Monday,Oct. 6. Here’s a look at what’s in store at this new restaurant on South Grand.


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Sneak Peek: Three Kings Public House in Des Peres

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

In March, The Scoop announced that Three Kings Public House, a gastro pub located at 6307 Delmar Blvd., in The Loop, would open a second location in Des Peres. After months renovating the former Mosaic space at 11925 Manchester Road, pub owners Ryan Pinkston, Derek Deavers and Derek Flieg are ready to open doors.

Regulars of The Loop locale can find their favorite dishes from the Three Kings’ menu at the new location, as there are few differences between the two food menus. On the beverage side, craft beer options are deeper at the Des Peres location, which offers 30 beers on tap compared to the two dozen at its sister spot in University City.

The most dramatic difference between the venues is the space itself. Gone is the open kitchen from Mosaic’s run in this strip mall. Instead, a wall divides the 140-seat space between the dining area and the bar section. Reclaimed wood holds court on both sides – on the walls, tables and flooring – with material that hails from torn down city churches and regional barns. A wooden wall also privatizes the patio and decreases noise from busy Manchester Road. Here’s what you’ll find when Three Kings Public House opens Monday, Oct. 6:



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-photos by Ligaya Figueras

Sneak Peek: BaiKu Sushi Lounge

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

In July, The Scoop broke the news that Café Pintxos at Hotel Ignacio in Midtown was being reconcepted as BaiKu Sushi Lounge. Under the direction of Brad Beracha, owner of now defunct sushi restaurant Miso on Meramec and Araka, BaiKu has come to life. The restaurant is now open for dinner and will offer lunch service beginning Oct. 6.

The sushi menu is extensive. It features specialty nigiri and sashimi, Hawaiian fish flown in daily, a selection of eight specialty rolls and unique chilled appetizers. The sushi bar is manned by BaiKu’s executive sushi chef, Soung Min Lee, formerly sushi chef at Miso as well as Central Table Food Hall. Joining Lee behind the counter is his brother, sous chef Soung Ho Lee.

Hot dishes at BaiKu are prepared in the kitchen at Triumph Grill, which adjoins the first floor of the hotel. Warm appetizers include creatively prepared bites like lobster shumai (Chinese-style dumplings), lettuce cups holding steamed Hawaiian blue prawns and steamed buns. Larger plates feature Korean-style hanger steak, Alaskan salmon and Hawaiian snapper.

BaiKu offers a variety of noodle dishes; guests can choose between soba, udon or ramen, the latter made locally by Midwest Pasta Co. The hot food menu was developed by Triumph executive chef Josh Norris. A native of Maui, Norris said he grew up eating a number of these dishes during his youth on the island.

Premium sake headlines beverage offerings. Rounding out the drink selection are more than 50 beers – including five Japanese brews – and wines chosen for their ability to pair with sushi. Here’s what’s in store at BaiKu:


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-photos by Michelle Volansky

Sneak Peek: Il Poggio

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

Five Bistro chef-owner Anthony Devoti has bid farewell to the (mostly) vegetarian abundance of Root & Vine. Beginning tonight, Aug. 27, he’ll serve up hearty northern Italian fare at Il Poggio, his newest pop-up concept on the bar side of his restaurant at 5100 Daggett Ave., on The Hill.

Il Poggio, which means “the hill” in Italian, is the third of Devoti’s rotating concept restaurants since February. The first, Mon Petit Chou, celebrated French cuisine; Root & Vine focused on the bounty of spring and summer produce, much of it grown in Devoti’s garden at Five Bistro.

At Il Poggio, Devoti showcases house-made salumi, including house-made mortadella studded with crunchy pistachios, and handmade pastas like butternut squash ravioli and gnocchi. The seven-course prix-fixe meal begins with an amuse of house-smoked salmon with a swath of creamy dill sauce, red onion and garden cucumbers. From there, standout dishes include simple, yet intensely flavorful eggplant Parmesan; paper-thin, jewel-like slices of beef carpaccio with pickled vegetables; and a rich, flavorful, pork trotter ragú.

Wine pairings are available for an additional $30 and reflect the many varieties of Northern Italy, from a delightfully tangy, young orange pinot grigio to a robust, Burgundy-like pinot nero.

The Il Poggio menu is available Wednesdays through Saturdays, and reservations are encouraged. Devoti expects Il Poggio to run through October with slight menu changes to accommodate seasonal produce. Here’s a look at what to expect:


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Sneak Peek: Robie’s at The Magnolia Hotel

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014

The Magnolia Hotel – along with its bar and restaurant, Robie’s – officially opens for business today, Aug. 12. The new boutique hotel, one of a chain of five Magnolia hotels in the U.S., unlocks its doors at 421 N. Eighth St., after an extensive eight-month, multi-million dollar renovation to the former Mayfair Hotel space.

The hotel’s bar and restaurant, Robie’s, is named for John Robie, played by actor Cary Grant in To Catch A Thief. The lounge offers contemporary American cuisine in an elegant setting. Morning eats are available a la carte and as a continental breakfast buffet; lunch and dinner options include a variety of soups, salads, appetizers, sandwiches, pizzas, entrees and desserts. A limited late-night menu is also available. Here’s what’s in store at Robie’s.


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-photos by Michelle Volansky

Sneak Peek: Que Sazon Food Truck

Friday, May 30th, 2014

Earlier this month, Que Sazon food truck announced it was gassing up to hit the streets, and now the newest food truck in town is set to make its debut Sunday, June 1 at Citygarden from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Que Sazon serves up South American cuisine inspired by the dishes and flavors of owner Fabian Ocampo’s Colombia. Ocampo, who co-owns the truck with his wife, Julie Ocampo, and his mother, Elizabeth Ortiz, said many of the dishes borrow from his mother’s and grandmother’s recipes. And he won’t have to look far to ensure their authenticity; his mother is lending a hand in the kitchen, too.

The Que Sazon menu is divided between arepas, empanadas and empanadillas. Most dishes are served with house-made sauces like a sweet mango barbecue sauce (with a spicy kick); three varieties of chimichurri sauce, including a chimichurri mayo; salsa guiso, a fresh blend of onions, tomatoes, garlic, cilantro and saffron; and a spicy aji pique.

Arepas, handheld cornmeal disks, are split and stuffed with a variety of meats (shredded beef, chicken, chorizo or roasted pork that was marinated three days), beans and more. Flaky, crisp empanadas are filled with the expected (chicken and chorizo), and the unexpected, like the weird-yet-wonderful flavor combinations in the Che, an Argentinian-style empanada filled with ground beef, a hard-boiled egg and briny green olives. In the mood to sample? Try empanadillas, the empanada’s smaller cousin, where thin, corn tortillas hold about three bites of chicken or beef, potatoes and salsa guiso. And vegetarians need not worry; there are meatless arepa, empanadas and empanadilla options, too.

Fresh fruit can be found all over the Que Sazon menu, from plantains both crispy and sweet, diced mango dotting arepas and salad, and glasses of maracuya, a sweet-sour passionfruit juice perfect on a hot day. On the beverage side, the truck will also offer South American sodas like Guarana from Brazil, Jarritos from Mexico and Inca Kola from Peru.

Here’s a look at what to expect when Que Sazon rolls downtown this Sunday:


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-photos by Michelle Volansky

Sneak Peek: Jilly’s Ice Cream Bar

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

Jilly’s Ice Cream Bar opens doors Friday, May 30, just in time to offer a sweet trade-off when those days of 90-degree, 99 percent humidity hit. Located just steps from its sister establishment Jilly’s Cupcake Bar & Café at 8509 Delmar Blvd., in University City, the ice cream bar aims to be a destination for epicureans searching for a frozen treat.

Chefs Casey Shiller and Dana Holland have created a lineup of nearly 20 ice cream flavors, including classic, monthly creations and cupcake-inspired ones. (Keep an eye on the Sauce Facebook page for your chance to join Sauce in choosing one of Jilly’s July creations.) Customers can enjoy their frozen dessert in a bowl, cupcake waffle cone (made from Jilly’s cupcake batter), sugar cone, or a two-scoop side-by-side cake cone. The shop also offers sundaes; build your own or choose from one of five signature sundaes.

You could grab a cone and go, but the space at Jilly’s is so bright and cheery, you should linger and enjoy. Near the entrance is a smattering of two-top tables. An adjoining party room, which holds seating for 70, features wood chairs, tables and a bar rail by local green builder Mwanzi. (The party room is available to patrons when not reserved for special events.) A mounted collection of vintage spoons and ice cream scoopers and silver frames around the menu boards are just a few of the creative décor touches by local design company Worn Vintage Rentals.

The ice cream bar will be open Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.  Here’s what’s in store when Jilly’s Ice Cream Bar opens Friday.


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-photos by Michelle Volansky

Sneak Peek: Siam

Monday, May 19th, 2014

After a soft opening in May, Grove newcomer Siam, located at 4121 Manchester Ave., is putting the finishing touches on food and drink menus in time for a June 14 grand opening. Those familiar with the former Novak’s space will notice a few changes in the newly minted Siam; co-owners Steven Preston and Ron Bray knocked down walls for a more open floor plan and hung vibrant animal artwork on the brick surrounding the bar. Outside, a spacious patio trussed in brick and wrought iron caters to both the dinner crowd and the late-night set.

“[The Grove] is an eclectic neighborhood,” Preston said. “There’s a good mix of people here, so we’re making it a place for everybody.”

The menu will feature Asian-inspired cuisine from executive chef Tyler Davis, whose previous experience includes Ernesto’s Wine Bar, and sushi chef Nanda Nyunt, formerly of Cafe Mochi. Currently, the bar at Siam is open Friday and Saturday starting at 8 p.m.; if you’re lucky, the kitchen may be testing a few menu items for late-night hungry customers.

After its grand opening, Siam will operate Wednesday to Sunday from 4 p.m. to 3 a.m., transitioning to a late-night menu at 11 p.m. General manager Kelly Washam said Sunday brunch may be on the horizon as well.

Here’s a sneak peek of what to expect when Siam gets into full swing:

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Sneak Peek: Lulu’s Local Eatery on South Grand

Thursday, May 15th, 2014

Robbie Tucker and Lauren Loomis, aka Lulu, announced in February that their vegan food truck business, Lulu’s Local Eatery, would soon get a permanent home. After revamping the former Natty’s Pizza space at 3201 S. Grand Blvd., Tucker and Loomis are opening doors to their brick-and-mortar May 19.

At this fast-casual spot, you’ll find veggie wraps and sandwiches filled with local produce, plus a handful of noodle and rice bowls, sides and even a kids’ menu. Some established crowd-pleasers that were previously rotating specials on the truck now have a permanent place on the brick-and-mortar menu. The restaurant will also offer its own distinct specials not available at the mobile eatery.

And when its liquor license is approved in a few weeks, patrons will be able to enjoy wine and craft beer on tap and in bottles. The restaurant will serve lunch and dinner Mondays and Wednesdays through Saturdays, with a weekend brunch slated to begin in late June or early July.

Here’s a look at what awaits when Lulu’s Local Eatery unlocks its doors.


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-photos by Michelle Volansky

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